The evolution of research around brain activity has led scientists to a new invention. They managed to create a wearable conductive gel that sticks on the skin without irritating it and that allows to track and collect brain signals.
These wearable electrodes stick onto and near the ear like a temporary tattoo and can be used for more than 2 weeks without being damaged by normal activity.
This invention could allow a better collection and analysis of brain waves and be the beginning of better prosthetics and interfaces for people with disabilities by being able to control devices with your brain.
Before this, brain signals were analysed using Electroencephalograms with electrodes stuck onto the head with conductive gel. This technique only allowed short-term collection as the gel would deteriorate and the electrodes would have to be changed.
This new method proved to be working for more than 14 days despite showering and exercising. It consists of a flexible collection of gold electrodes on a soft plastic film and sticks to the skin using electric forces better known as van der Walls interaction.
To record the brain activity, the sensors were connected to a monitoring device using stretchable wires. This device recorded well enough to enable patients to spell words using their thought.
This type of invention could revolutionise the life of people with disabilities for whom mind-controlled devices would considerably change their life.
This is just amazing… Definitely worth watching!
A few years ago, a team of engineers at Samsung started working on a project to detect strokes by analysing brain waves.
Considered pretty much impossible at the time, they now built a real prototype called the EDSAP for Early Detection Sensor & Algorithm Package. This device allows everyone who has a smartphone or a tablet to monitor the electrical impulses in their brain and therefore give them the chance to detect an oncoming stroke and see their doctor before it happens.
With 15 million people suffering from stroke every year, and 66% of them resulting in death or permanent physical disabilities, this device could be really helpful.
How does it work?
The headset is composed of sensors that wirelessly transmit data to a mobile app where the algorithm calculates the risk of stroke all in 60s. Besides, the data collected can also be analysed to inform the user about stress level, anxiety and sleep patterns.
How does it defer to any other brain sensor?
- Unlike other brain sensors on the market, the EDSAP is more focused on health-related matters rather than controlling other devices.
- It is also a lot faster than the normal time required from the material used in hospitals (60s instead of 15min).
- The highly conductive rubber-like material invented by the team allows the headset to scan brain waves in a larger amount and more comprehensively.
- It is easier and more comfortable to wear as the Saline usually required does not need to be rubbed in the hair anymore.
- Last but not least, the rubber-liked material invented allows the creation of multiple smaller devices that could be implemented in people’s everyday life. For example, for a longer use, the sensors could be added to hairpins or eye glasses.
Based on the analysis of brain waves from patients suffering from stroke combined with Artificial Intelligence, this project, once ready, could also be applied to other neurological health issues such as depression.
As part of the CES2015, Intel introduced a new button size computer called Curie.
This new tiny chip proves that Intel sees wearables as one of the most exciting thing in consumer electronics and that hardware tinkerers are on the lookout for smaller components to build smarter wearable gadgets.
This new device will include Bluetooth low-energy, motion sensors, and components capable of identifying quickly and more accurately different types of physical activity.
The world’s largest chip maker has also already partnered with some companies in fashion and accessories including Luxottica Group which is the largest eyeglass maker for famous brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley. Brian Krzanich, Intel’s CEO, declared that Luxottica will use Curie to build real “consumer-friendly” smart glasses.
Available in the second half of the year, this tiny computer will certainly change wearables for the best.
More info here.
More and more devices seem to use gesture tracking to allow touch-free interaction such as the Leap Motion and Kinect but also the recent and innovative onecue (see related article).
However, Elliptic Labs have introduced a new tool called the “Multi Layer Interaction” (MLI). It is not a new device but rather a new technology that can be implemented in already existing devices like your smartphone.
Tracking the position and distance of your hand, the device can ‘wake up’ when it senses movement, and execute other commands depending on the distance threshold the hand reaches. It can then improve the user’s interaction and experience with their smartphone.
On the technical side, it uses a minute transducer and a small ultrasound speaker to detect the movements around and it can be easily adapted to computers, smartphones, tablets and wearables. It can also use the built-in microphone to echo-locate the user’s hand so most manufacturers simply need to add the ultrasound speakers and the software to their device.
One of the most exciting thing is that it can detect the location of a hand with a 180 degrees interaction space with a maximum range of 50cm while using a small amount of power.
Watch the video below to learn more:
If you’re interested in playing around with it, you can get a dev kit on the website, Elliptic Labs.